Walk into church, as the Mass has already begun. How many are reading the church bulletin or the diocesan newspaper, not singing or even watching as the entrance procession is beginning. The Liturgy of the Word finds many on their cell phones or completely ignoring where they are.
Worse, when the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins you may notice some anxiety among several, if not more, who can’t wait to get in line for communion without ever affixing their attention to what is happening in the most beautiful and profound part of this liturgy.
Does anyone ever get absorbed in the events of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Resurrection Mass on Easter, during the Easter Triduum?
Some may allow their imagination to wander back 2,000 years. Wishing as they might could’ve been there sharing the agony of the trial, the scourging and crowning of thorns, or standing along the Via Dolorosa as Jesus carried his cross.
Even more intensely if they had been on the hill when he was nailed to the cross, lifted up between heaven and earth, and suffered such great humiliation and death for you and me. Watching as the soldier thrust his lance into the side of Jesus and witnessed the water and blood pour out (according to John the Sacraments of Baptism and Life which is the Eucharist).
Then on the third day, as Jesus predicted, standing at the tomb and hearing the words, “He is Risen Alleluia”. Jesus Christ is Risen from the Dead.
Think about it. From the start of the Eucharistic Liturgy, while you are sitting at Mass, you are there. In the garden with Jesus as he sweats blood, the arrest and trial, the scourging and crowning with thorns, the walk to Calvary and the death of Jesus on the Cross. Then the announcement of Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead.
The presentation of the gifts; Jesus offers Himself to the Father. The elevation of the host when the priest says; “This is my Body” as he is nailed to the cross. He continues with, “This is the cup of my Blood which is given for you” as the chalice is raised and Jesus dies on cross, shedding his Blood for you and me. At the Final Doxology when the priest says; “Through Him, with Him, In Him in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all Glory and Honor is yours, Almighty Father, for ever and ever, Amen. This is Christ Risen from the dead, as He promised.
These are the proponents of the Holy Mass, in the Eucharistic Liturgy. Each time we attend Holy Mass, each of these events is lived over and over in our presence. The reality of all this is since there is no time and space in eternity, we are actually living every moment of the Paschal Mystery at each Mass. Not an abstract event, but actually being there at the moment of history. This history does occur in our present time and we are there. A collapse to time.
Truly, there should never be a moment of boredom as the Roman Catholic Church does not suggest things in abstract; we live Christ through the Holy Mass and have the most beautiful presence of our living God.
Ralph B. Hathaway July 2019